On the “About” page of this blog, some of you may have noted I’ve written a bit about how I think the therapists we see should respect our wishes regarding whether or not to take medicine for our OCD (or similar disorders.) Now I’m going to put a fine point on that by saying, yes, that’s what I believe, but I also believe we should be open to taking medicine as it is, in many cases, a reasonable option.
But if it’s not truly necessary, medicine can often be a guessing game: Trying to find the one that works amongst all the others which don’t. Also, if you have multiple disorders, there is a chance that a medicine which improves one will worsen another. And in every case, medicine should never be a permanent solution; as Jeffrey Schwartz says in Brain Lock, medicine should be used as “water-wings” to help us get going when we need it. Even if we continue to need medication long-term, it still must not be all we rely on for our improvement.
It’s good to be skeptical, so if your inclination is automatically “I need medicine” — be skeptical of that. But if your inclination is automatically “I don’t need medicine” — it’s good to be skeptical of that, too. And, I really do have a hang-up about taking pills — which is weird, because so does Melvin in As Good As It Gets. When I was pregnant, I searched far and wide until I found special “petite” prenatal vitamins to take because the huge ones were just too much. I don’t talk about it a lot and it’s probably related to a fear of choking — it’s hard enough for me to eat normally with my breathing tic, let alone swallow a pill which could be a larger-than-usual choking hazard. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I saw unnecessary medicines overly taken wreak a lot of havoc on my mother’s health during my childhood.
Anyway, there’s how I feel about medicine. It’s really neither bad nor good; it’s a tool which can be used properly or improperly, just like any other tool.